Email Newsletter Design: The Benefits of Taking a Minimalist Approach

Humanity has never had so much information readily available at its fingertips. It’s a constant flow of content, one item after another, all day long.

We’re scrolling while we work. We’re scrolling while we eat and we’re definitely scrolling during our downtime. With each passing day, the information we’re consuming seems only to increase while we spend less and less time on each individual piece of information.

Some people find it challenging to get through long-form content because their minds are so used to scrolling by snippets, tidbits, and much smaller forms of content. You might have already found that this is happening to your attention span. You’re enjoying shorter, more concise content while your books remain unopened.

So, What Does It Mean For Email Newsletters?

This shortened attention span is a phenomenon that has not gone unnoticed by researchers. There have been numerous studies conducted on our ever-shrinking attention span. One recent study suggested that it is the sheer abundance of information coming our way that causes us to spend less time on each individual item. The takeaway is that what used to constitute a compelling message to your target audience may no longer be as effective as something simpler, more minimalist, and easier to consume.

So, what does that mean for email newsletters, a typically longer form content medium? How do organizations with newsletter subscribers create email marketing campaigns that work with our collective shortening attention span rather than fighting it? The answer is minimalism. Minimalism can offer you significant advantages regardless of the type of email newsletter you intend to send. Let’s take a look at how a minimalist approach to email newsletters can benefit your marketing campaign. 

Focus

Gone are the days of newsletters consisting of a wall of text dotted with links and buttons. In our modern times, an email user is likely to take one look at something like that and decide, “nope, I do not have time for this.” Instead, focusing on your top priorities will be less overwhelming to your subscribers. Here are some simple pointers for minimalist newsletter design:

  • Make use of intriguing headlines linked to the content rather than miles of black text on a white screen. 
  • The old saying suggests a picture says a thousand words, and it’s true. Imagery can help you get a message out that might otherwise require paragraphs or pages of text. 
  • Reducing the noise on the page helps funnel your subscribers’ attention and direct it to where you want it to be. 

You can also make use of tools that learn your subscribers’ habits and, as a result, begin to show them versions of your email newsletter that will be more effective for that individual. 

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Calm

When a lot is going on within a single page, it can cause anxiety and a feeling of pressure in the reader. Even when your subscriber is eager to learn what’s new with your organization, line after line of text crammed into a small space amongst images and links, and calls to action can scare them away. It feels complex and time-consuming and immediately becomes something one has to commit to rather than something one can simply enjoy.

A minimalist approach eliminates all of those negative feelings and replaces them with calm. A crisp, clean white page with a striking image in the center will capture more people’s attention and draw them in more effectively than a busy page packed full of information.

Of course, this means you need to reduce your newsletter to the most essential items to get across to your subscribers. Pull out everything that could distract your reader from these main points, leaving a clean layout that doesn’t immediately cause tension in your email newsletter recipients. Consider how often you should send marketing emails to your subscribers, as this can vary from list to list.

Mystery

In a busy, more engaging newsletter or marketing email, we’re putting it all out on the page. Nothing is left for the imagination; we’ve poured it all out and hit send. When you take a more minimalist approach, however, you build curiosity in your audience. This strategy is the “less is more” approach. By giving them less information, you’re curating a desire for more detail in the reader.

Eye-catching imagery is the easiest way to build curiosity in your subscribers, but you can also achieve a similar effect with cleverly phrased short headlines. Of course, these are most effective when sent in a minimalist campaign with as few distractions on the page as possible. Make the mystery a focal point on the page, and your email recipient will feel compelled to click for more.

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Aesthetics

Minimalist designs don’t just reduce the distractions on the page and help your readers focus on what’s important. While they are also great for working within the restrictions of our ever-shrinking attention spans, there are other things they can do. Another great benefit of a minimalist design is aesthetics. They are easy to look at. Some can be quite striking and unforgettable. You can manipulate these designs to deliver powerful brand imagery, building brand loyalty, and recognition. Minimalist designs can make opening your email newsletter something your subscribers look forward to.

Aesthetics are crucial when designing a newsletter for a brand or organization centered around a creative industry. For instance, the beauty industry is all about aesthetics. A beauty marketing agency is likelier to choose a minimalist design for its email newsletter campaigns to achieve that aesthetic beauty on the page and appeal to its target audience.

The Takeaway

Minimalism is an effective strategy for newsletters in contemporary markets, most importantly because our attention spans are getting smaller by the day. But the right minimalist newsletter design can take your email marketing efforts to the next level for so many other reasons. They are beautiful to look at. They drive focus in the reader and direct them to your most important message and they make the experience pleasant and something to look forward to instead of another task in our packed days.

Whether you’re sending out emails to keep your subscribers on top of what’s going on in your organization or you’re sending curated newsletters to engage your audience, a minimalist newsletter design can help you achieve your email marketing goals.

Bio: Madeleine, a writer out of the northwestern U.S., has spent a large majority of her adult life writing in both a professional and personal setting. With a background in digital marketing, her topics tend to gravitate towards that niche and the benefits it can provide, when done correctly. Her work has been featured in a number of great publications, including the American Marketing Association (AMA) and the National Institute for Social Media (NISM). To stay in the loop, feel free to follow Madeleine on LinkedIn.

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